An opponent and willing test subject

I am greatly indebted to my friend and one half of the excellent 2Peas (who graciously host this blog), Mr Daniel Jolly. Dan is a patient opponent. Inquisitor 2.0 is not the first set of new rules I have hoisted upon him but he is always gracious and kind and gives excellent and productive feedback. That is particularly appreciated given that his available time for hobbying is as limited as anyone’s’ and there are already a great number of published, professional and excellent games that we could be playing instead of the jumbled amalgamation of thoughts that my head is want to produce. 

Thank you Dan.

Rules

I find coming up with new rules a thoroughly rewarding process and the process of iterating on those rules even more so. For this game I had a few fundamental design principles I wanted to stick to:

  • It should play fast. 45 minutes to an hour at most;
  • It should be small. 6 to 7 models each and board sizes no bigger than 2’x2’.
  • It would be scenario and character driven with each warband having different objectives and victory points awarded accordingly.
  • Models would be capable of multiple activations per round but it would get increasingly difficult to activate a model.
  • Astartes would be very tough but there would not be more than one per team.
  • Environmental elements would play a key part. 

If you would like to peruse the rules in more detail they can find the latest iteration here. The profiles I have created for the characters in our game are here. A cautionary note: these are very much the evolution of note form, written for my benefit and not intended to be a comprehensive document by which a person new to the game could teach themselves to play. 

Characters

The very best tales are those that focus on the individuals at their centre. With that in mind, our story would follow the machinations of two opposed Inquisitors. Inquisitor Nokova is the true lead and antagonist whereas Inquisitor Locke, her former mentor, is her foil.

Below is a short synopsis of each of the characters that make up Inquisitor Nokova’s retinue. You will see some existing characters taken from the Warhammer40k universe here. That is driven, in part from a desire to re-use models I love and in part because I found the characters compelling enough and wanted to see the continuance of their tales.

Sister Pentia (Battle Sister) – the last survivor of the Church of His Apotheosis. For weeks before the uprising that saw her sisters slain and Church brought to ruin, Pentia experienced visions of a figure she came to describe as the Grey Lady who ceaselessly bid her do the Emperor’s work. Confused and fearful that her inaction was a failing in the eyes of the God-Emperor, when Nokova appeared in person before Pentia, the Battle Sister agreed to join Nokova’s retinue, swearing to follow the dictates of the Inquisitor who manifested herself from Pentia’s very dreams. Such is Pentia’s devotion to the Inquisitor, who she sees as the living embodiment of the Emperor’s will, that she will carry out Nokova’s instructions without question. Pentia even willingly serves alongside the vile Daemonhost Amadaedullus whose containment she sees as an expression of the might of the Emperor, channelled through her mistress, over the vile spawn of the warp.

Brother Aurelius (Primaris Astartes) – bound to join the Indomitus Crusade headed for Imperium Nihilus, Brother Aurelius was ostensibly of the Ultramarines chapter but never met his battle brothers. His vessel failed to reach its destination having been attacked by Eldar pirates enroute. As the life-signs on his cryo-pod dwindled, Rogue Trader Draik’s flagship, collected the space marine. Understanding little of the age he has awoken to and with even less comprehension of the nature of the Inquisition, Aurelius fell back on the one surety of his nature, namely honour. He pledged his service to Nokova and her dictates until such time as his debt was paid.

The Rogue Psyker from Blackstone Fortress made a perfect Daemonhost.

Amaedullus (Daemonhost) – the neverborn Amaedullus claims to be millennia old. Heretical records exist that tell of the creature having once been struck down by the God-Emperor himself in ages long past. When Nokova uncovered this she saw fit to bind the Daemon to a mortal form, placing powerful psychic wards and hexagrams upon her victim’s flesh to keep the daemon from exerting the full extent of its might. Nokova sought to interrogate the beast as to its encounters with the God-Emperor of Mankind but, to the Inquisitor’s frustration, it has proven mercurially deceptive in the answers it gives.

Another Blackstone recruit

Aeylia Shadewalker (Aeldari Ranger) – the Aeldari ranger called Shadewalker once sought to assassinate Inquisitor Nokova. Having secreted herself above Nokova’s vessel she sought out the Inquisitor in her personal chambers, intent on claiming her life with Aeylia’s sister’s blade. On encountering the Aeldari, however, the Inquisitor calmly explained that she had been awaiting the day Shadewalker would come for her life and had retained Aeylia’s sister’s soulstones in anticipation of this encounter. Nokova offered the Ranger a bargain she could never refuse, the soulstones in exchange for Nokova’s life and Shadewalker’s service.

And another one…

Janus Draik (Rogue Trader) – Rumours abound that Draik was found by Nokova fleeing across the the stars having uncovered something terrible locked within the bowels of an ancient xenos vessel. Nokova relieved Draik of whatever dread item he had secured and, in exchange, she demanded his service (and his fleet). It is a testament to the horror that Draik encountered aboard that ship that he readily agreed.

This one is a proper Frankenstein of parts (elves, van saar, escher, more elves).

Inquisitor Nokova – the former protege of Inquisitor Gideon Locke, Nokova is his greatest failure. A powerful psyker that Locke recruited as a child, she quickly mastered a range of psychic disciplines and became obsessed with the incorporation of the warp in the material universe. Nokova believes that the manipulation of the Empryean represents the ultimate ascendance of humanity’s evolution. She, like many of her creed, point to the emperor as the ultimate master of the warp and seeks all knowledge, however scant and no matter the risk of heresy, as to the origins and powers of the Master of Mankind. Her quest has made her dangerous in the eyes of many and she has been declared excommunicate traitoris by a conclave of her peers led by Locke himself. 

Nokova is not above the manipulation of others to see her ends achieved. She spent weeks in orbit above the moon Tarra Umbris, locked in a psychic trance, to implant visions in the mind of Battle Sister Pentia that led the Sister to join Nokova’s ranks. Her Daemonhost Amadaeullus was tempted from the warp by the sacrifice of hundreds of Pentia’s Battle Sisters in an uprising brought about by Nokova’s careful insertion of agents into the Planetary Defence Force. The Daemon’s subsequent capture and binding did nothing to diminish its respect for Nokova’s ruthlessness. She exchanged some of her most prized possessions, Aeldari Soulstones, for the capture of a Primaris Battle Brother, bound to join the Ultramarines and she manipulated the fear of a Rogue Trader to turn his fleet and resources to her ends.  

Since writing the above, the hulking mass of Ajax (the converted Goliath) has also joined Nokova’s warband. Doubtless he will have his reasons and I will enumerate on those in the future.